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Accelerating the digital transformation of government services

At a glance

Digital government services – which have exploded throughout the world over the last 20 years – are vital for developing a digital economy and promoting economic well-being, enabling new opportunities that might not have been accessible before. They also have the opportunity to help governments build digital societies, ones which not only pursue gains in productivity and economic diversification, but which enable digital access and inclusion for their citizens.

With the advent of expanding digital infrastructure, connectivity, and mobile phone penetration, digital government services can also support transactions and marketplaces that are on-demand, paperless, cashless, and available everywhere. For citizens, digital government services can increase access to critical and sometimes life-saving services such as health, education, and social protection.

Many countries, particularly in low-resource settings, struggle to keep pace with the digitalization of government services. The major challenges are coordination, securing funding, scaling solutions, and siloed thinking and investment often resulting in duplication of efforts. However, many countries do not have the resources to reinvent the wheel or to duplicate investments. They need to invest in multi-purpose and cross-sector e-government solutions which are easier to design, implement, and scale.
This is where a “whole-of-government” approach helps governments to focus on providing innovative services and solutions that provide re-usability, interoperability and security by design to citizens, businesses and the public sector.

This video introduces and summarizes DIAL and ITU’s SDG Digital Investment Framework on which the GovStack approach is built on. It aims to help countries make smarter and more strategic decisions in their ICT investments.

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Our approach

The GovStack Initiative, founded by Estonia, Germany, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) in 2020, aims to build a common framework and technical practice for the design of reusable and interoperable digital components – referred to as “digital building blocks” – needed to digitally transform government.

By investing in digital building blocks, that in combination provide key functionalities to facilitate generic workflows and which are easier to design, implement, and scale across multiple sectors, GovStack is set out to help governments simplify the cost, time, and resource requirements necessary to create or modify their digital platforms, services, and applications. Moreover, by utilizing knowledge from leading digital government examples, GovStack aims to accelerate the effectiveness of core functions and services in partner governments, to reduce unnecessary duplication of systems, combat fraud and corruption by increasing the security and traceability of transactions, and improve civic engagement and accountability. Against this backdrop GovStack strives to accelerate countries’ ownership of e-gov. solutions and in doing so improve services for social well-being.

Examples of Building Blocks:

This diagram exemplifies on how Building Blocks as generically defined software components can provide key functionalities to facilitate generic workflows common across multiple sectors.

Our goal

In cooperation with partners from the local digital ecosystem and in line with the Digital Investment Framework of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) the GovStack approach starts with research and development to inform design specifications based on best practices of generic reusable digital components, or building blocks. Next, the collaboration will move towards creating a model digital government services platform – building on the already existing Catalog of Digital Solutions of DIAL –, which will demonstrate elements of reuse across services and sectors (i.e., use cases). The design specifications and the resulting government platform model will be available as “digital public goods” for use by the global community, with a focus on procurement and implementation in a low-resource context. To test digital administrative applications, pilots will also be conducted by digital ecosystem partners in partner countries, and communities of practice will also be established.

Here is an outline of the three main activity areas of GovStack:

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